Resolve to Be More Patient
The reason you’re having an issue with patience is because what’s happening right in front of you—your wife’s request or your kid’s soccer game—is competing with something else, something that’s not in that moment.
To examine the challenge you’re having being patient with your family requires you to examine what’s going on in your cluttered head. What are you thinking about? Work? Finances? Doubts and fears? Are you comparing yourself to others? Are you thinking about the car, house, job, or woman you’d rather have in your life? Are you making each moment more about you rather than the people you care about?
Whatever it is, it isn’t there. But it is most certainly impacting your relationships and your ability to be the best father, husband, or son you can be.
To be present we have to start getting conscious. Most of us start out fairly unconscious as men. What I mean by conscious is paying attention to what’s happening to you moment by moment. It means acknowledging the feelings that are shooting through your brain, and the tension that’s mobilizing in your gut, chest, throat, or head. These are the clues, the signs. Understanding what’s happening to you in the moment will give you the opportunity to make new, conscious decisions, and to be more patient.
For instance, let’s imagine your woman is telling you about a frustrating situation that happened for her at work today. She goes into some detail about a conversation she had with a salesman regarding a computer component she needs to purchase for the office. It’s a simple story. The sales guy wasn’t very professional or helpful, and your gal wasn’t getting the information or help she needed. That’s the moment. All that’s required is for you to listen. But you don’t…just listen.
Perhaps you had your own interactions that day with idiots who weren’t helpful. You know all about that. Besides which, she was asking the wrong questions or not even looking for the right component. You know about this stuff, too. You’re getting a little impatient. You can cut this conversation short—and obviate the need to hear this annoying tale again—by correcting your woman and letting her know how she should have handled the salesman, and what component she actually needs. It makes perfect sense. You’re just being helpful, right?
Well, not particularly. Your ego, your inability to shift gears from work to home, or just your ugly insecurities and reactionary need to be right, has caused you to bring your lack of patience to your relationship, rather than your open heart, love, compassion, or empathy. Imagine if Mr. Patient had shown up in that moment with your wife. Imagine if that daddy was present and available to share the many AWESOME moments we can miss with our kids.
So, how do you develop patience? What is the work necessary to get out of your own way so you can be in the moment and enjoy your family?
This isn’t easy work, and it won’t happen overnight. It’s really at the core of who you are as a man. It’s a reflection of where you are in your journey toward manhood, and away from being a needy and impatient little boy.
Here are a few suggestions to put you on the path toward greater patience for yourself and for your family:
Read. There are lots of books available that’ll help you to slow down and start paying attention to what’s motivating your actions and causing you to be impatient.
Meditate. Though it takes time to feel comfortable with meditation, it slows your thought process and gives you the space to clear your mind and to open up to new ways of relating to your world and to your family.
Men. Develop trusting relationships with men. This is where you’ll get the on-going support and accountability you’ll appreciate as you make changes in your life to be the best father, husband, and leader you can be.
Last piece of advice—stop lamenting. Make a commitment today to begin something new with the intention of being that extremely patient and loving man for your family…and for yourself. Can you think of a better way to start your year?